If you didn’t hear about it yet (but you likely have), President Obama took action to normalize our relationship with Cuba. It hasn’t been that way since the 1960’s, which is when all the stuff with the Cold War was going on. That being said, this was a huge step to try and make amends with one of our neighbors, and it actually seems to be doing alright. Let’s take a closer look at what happened in a legal sense.
What Was the Relationship Before?
Before we normalized our relationship with Cuba, absolutely everything was embargoed. You could not legally bring any goods between Cuba and the United States, no matter which direction you were going. Travel to Cuba was incredibly limited, and you had to get special permissions to be able to travel there for any reason at all. The whole thing was incredibly hostile and it, honestly, made things really uncomfortable. Some of Cuba’s allies at the time made us nervous, too, which was another reason this whole thing happened.
What Does Normalization Look Like?
Normalization doesn’t mean that everything is all good now. We aren’t allies with Cuba – not even close. But instead, there are a few things that can now be done that were not able to be done before the normalization process happened. For example, your friend who travels to Cuba for business can actually bring you back cigars without getting in trouble now. Prisoners were able to be passed between the countries as necessary. And travel is a lot less restricted. There are hopes that this will open the door to more progress, but that will remain to be seen – it likely won’t be while Castro is still in power, so we may have to wait another generation before we see anything close to becoming allies with Cuba.
All in all, it’s an interesting move. Since the Cold War has been done for so long, it makes sense to get rid of pointless restrictions like this one. What do you think? Was it time to lift the restrictions that had been around for decades?
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